How To Properly Care For Your Dog's Wounds?

Published on Feb 1, 2023 12:00 AM
How To Properly Care For Your Dog's Wounds?

The exact number of annual dog injuries in the USA is difficult to mention. However, your pet can get injured at some point in their life. Definitely, you don’t like to see your canine fellow in pain and covered in wounds. But—accidents happen, and then, knowing how to do dog wound care properly is essential. 

The injuries can include minor cuts and scrapes to more serious wounds requiring professional care. Proper pet wound care will help them heal quickly and prevent infection. 

Moreover, it’s important to know when to seek professional vet help for dog wound treatment. 

In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about wound care for dogs. 

From the initial treatment for dog cut to ongoing post-operative care, we'll cover everything you must do to help your furry friend heal quickly and safely.

Benefits of Immediate Dog Wound Care

The most crucial aspect of your care for dog wounds is how quickly you clean and treat them. Any time spent romping around with an injury significantly increases the likelihood of wound infection. 

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Mostly, it’s possible to do dog open wound care at home. However, some seemingly minor injuries can lead to severe infections, so it's always best to choose the side of caution when deciding whether to take your dog to the vet. Taking your dog to the vet as soon as a wound occurs could save it much pain. 

In the following sections, you will learn how to care for dog wounds to ensure the proper health of your canine companions.

Types of Dog Wounds 

The nature and severity of dog wounds can be of many types.

Dog owners must seek veterinary care for the following dog injuries:

  • Animal bite wounds require immediate attention, whether from a dog or another animal. These may appear small, but they quickly become infected.
  • In dog skin wound, the skin peels away from the flesh beneath.
  • A wound containing a large foreign object (i.e., a piece of glass).
  • Wounds from a car accident or other traumatic event.
  • Injuries around the eyes, head, chest, or abdomen are serious.
  • Injuries from unknown sources need treatment as the worst-case scenario. A rusted nail, for example, could have caused the seemingly minor wound.
  • Cuts, such as dog leg wounds, that are more than an inch long or have jagged edges.
  • Injuries and wounds that cause breathing difficulties.

How to Do Dog Wound Care at Home?

Minor pet wounds, such as cuts or scrapes, are treatable similarly to human injuries. Pet owners can do such dog wound care at home.

The primary steps of at-home wound care are cleaning a wound on a dog, sanitizing the wound area, and applying the bandage. 

An important consideration is relieving pain by applying gentle, soothing products to your pet's wound.

However, if your dog gets hurt, you should always have a few things on hand to give them first-aid treatment. These include 

  • Pet antiseptic solution
  • Antimicrobial ointment for dogs
  • Sterile bandages
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Spray bottle 

Keeping these Dog Wound Care items on hand can help in case of an emergency.

Guide to Wound Bandage

In the event of an injury, it is best to seek the advice of a professional

However, if you believe the injury is minor or cannot immediately take your pet to the vet, you can bandage them. 

To bandage your pet, specifically for dog open wound care, follow these steps:

1.  Put a Muzzle on Your Dog

A scared, anxious, or injured dog may bite while you are trying to help.

It's a good idea to practice putting a muzzle on your dog before an injury occurs so your dog can feel comfortable with the process and the muzzle. 

This familiarization with the muzzle will help to avoid aggravating your dog's distress because they will be used to it.

2.  Examine the Wound for Foreign Objects

Examine the wound for any objects or debris that may have become lodged.

This is especially important for dog paw wound care because the wound may have been caused by stepping on something sharp. 

Remove the foreign object gently if it can be easily removed with tweezers. However, if the thing is deeply embedded, leave it alone, as you may cause further harm and pain to the pet.
Instead, call your veterinarian or immediately take your pet to an emergency veterinarian.

3.  Cleaning a Wound on a Dog

If the wound is on your dog's paw, you can help rinse any dirt and debris by swishing the injured paw in a clean bowl or warm water. 

If the wound is elsewhere on your dog's body, you can gently run clean water over the wound by placing your dog in a sink, bath, or shower. 

Never apply harsh cleaners, such as hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other acidic cleaning products, to your dog's skin. Using these chemicals for Dog Wound Care can be painful and even cause the wound to take longer to heal.

4.  Stop the Bleeding

Use a clean towel to apply pressure if nothing is stuck in the wound. 

While most minor cuts will stop bleeding within a few minutes, larger cuts will likely take longer. 

Within 10 minutes of applying pressure, the bleeding should stop. Call your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital immediately if your dog is still bleeding.

5.  Dress your Dog's Wound

If you have antibacterial ointment on hand, apply a small amount to the wound before covering it with sterile gauze or another bandage. 

Do not use products that contain hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. You can use a self-adhesive elastic bandage to keep the gauze in place when dressing a wound during wound care for dogs.

6.  Stop your Dog from Licking Injury

Licking the wound may cause it to heal more slowly. 

So if your dog attempts to lick the wound, you may need to use an e-collar.

Dog Open Wound Care

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Veterinarians will close and suture the injury whenever possible to expedite healing.

Sometimes, the location or extent of skin loss prevents surgical closure or bandaging. For example, wounds on the face or the upper leg are left open. 

In addition, some wounds will be left open for topical treatment for dog cut and drainage if there is gross contamination or deep infection.

If the wound cannot be closed surgically, your veterinarian may sometimes apply a protective bandage. 

However, most such wounds are left open, and your veterinarian will provide specific instructions for dog open wound care.

The following are some general care guidelines for such wounds:

1.  Clear the Wound Surroundings

Clean the wound and the surrounding area gently to remove any crusty or sticky debris. 

This will keep the wound edges clean, reduce re-infection risk, and allow new healthy tissue development.

2.  Administer Medications on Time

Administer all medications exactly as directed by the professional. 

For example, your veterinarian will prescribe your dog antibiotics or antibiotic creams to apply to the wound. 

Do not stop taking these medications unless your veterinarian has specifically instructed you.

3.  Prevent Dog Licking

Don’t let your dog lick or chew the open wound. For that, many dogs will need to wear a protective collar called an e-collar to avoid injuring the site. 

Other options, depending on the location of the wound, include bandaging, a stockinette, a dog coat, or a t-shirt.

4.  Prevent Premature Wound Healing

Prevent the skin from healing too quickly over the wound. This is especially important for abscesses that have been surgically lanced and drained. 

Massage the surrounding skin gently when cleaning a wound on a dog to open it up and promote drainage. 

When you do this, you may notice some discharge or bleeding. Take note of whether the discharge appears infected, like if it is thick and colored. 

You should either remove or let the discharge drain away. If the discharge remains bloody, green, or yellow for several days, contact your veterinarian to ensure the best veterinary care.

Maintaining the Wound

After the initial dog wound treatment and bandaging, you must check the wound regularly to ensure that infection does not occur and that healing is proceeding normally. 

Make sure to clean the wound twice a day with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution. 

In addition, if you notice any signs of wound infection or other complications, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Infection symptoms include increased redness, swelling, discharge, pain in the wound area, and a foul odor from the wound. 

Maintaining an injury is critical so that it heals rather than deteriorates further.

Why is Proper Dog Wound Care Important?

If you want to see your pet dog happy and healthy, you must provide them with proper wound care. 

Proper dog wound care is essential for several reasons:

  • It helps to clean the wound and remove any debris or dirt that could cause infection.
  • It prevents further complications.
  • It helps to keep the wound moist, which promotes healing.
  • It protects the wound from further injury.
  • It helps get rid of the pain faster for your furry fellow.

Common Mistakes During Wound Care for Dogs

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Avoid these common wound care mistakes to ensure proper healing at every stage. 

While wound care isn't exactly glamorous, it is statistically necessary, so we're here to help:

Using Chlorhexidine Soap

Chlorhexidine is an antibacterial agent as a topical antiseptic to clean wounds in dental and surgical practices

While chlorhexidine has low systemic toxicity and is generally safe in over-the-counter concentrations, its ingesting is dangerous and irritates the skin and eyes. 

In addition, dogs lick the soap, which can have serious consequences. Besides, little evidence shows it is safe and effective at reducing bacterial growth without causing wound trauma. 

Moreover, it can also cause tissue necrosis and bacteria to regrow.

Hydrogen Peroxide is Not the Best Option

When cleaning wounds, hydrogen peroxide is your first line of defense. It kills bacteria by breaking down their cell walls, so hydrogen peroxide has been an antiseptic for a long time. 

However, hydrogen peroxide destroys your pet's fibroblast cells, which are healthy cells necessary for healing. 

So, while the compound aids in disinfection, it also slows your pet's natural healing process.

Here's what you should do instead. Prepare the wound, apply pressure to stop any bleeding, and try to remove any fur from your dog's injury. 

Then, using sterile, pressurized "wound wash," flush the wound. Disinfect the wound with a diluted iodine solution.

Surprising Antibiotic Ointment Facts: Dog Wound Care

Polysporin's use in wound healing is very common. 

However, Polysporin has many drawbacks. It is made of petroleum jelly, a skin-toxic byproduct of crude oil. 

Besides, the continued and excessive use of antibiotics results in the spread of resistant bacteria. 

Petroleum jelly forms a film on the skin's surface, which may slow healing and prevent wounds from closing. 

Most dogs will lick anything greasy, causing more trauma to the wound and extending healing time.

Wrapping Up

Hence, you now understand the fundamentals of dog wound care. Proper veterinary care is critical for your dog's health and happiness. 

We've covered everything from providing first-aid treatment to a dog's wound to maintaining it. 

To learn more about pet care, you can look into Vet and Tech resources. We provide vet resources to educate pet owners about animal care, particularly surgical procedures, and common animal diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why isn't my dog's wound healing?

Wounds do not heal for various reasons, including patient factors such as underlying disease, etiology, and poor nutrition, as well as surgical factors such as hematoma formation and infection.

Is it possible for a dog's wound to heal on its own?

Most minor cuts, such as grazes, heal quickly if kept clean and dry. Check and clean your pet's wound daily, and keep them from licking it until it is completely healed.

Do dogs heal more quickly than humans?

It is widely assumed that dogs heal faster than humans. However, this is not always the case. Injuries to both humans and dogs follow the same healing path and progress at similar rates.